not worth archiving.
Me: Frank Lynch
These are my mundane daily ramblings.
The perils of poor hearing. Or
inattention. Or something. Yesterday, our daughter says to
me, "Dad, Mom bought me a new crochet needle!" Somehow, I missed
the "cro" syllable, leaving "chet needle," and after
reconstructing the meaning in my head, I asked quizzically, "Mom
bought you a Dick Cheney doll?!?"
Blank checks have a way of getting cashed. Continuing in his series of reports on Abu Ghraib, Seymour Hersh writes that the liberties taken by interrogators at Abu Ghraib have their roots in Rumsfeld's desire to empower people on the ground. In Afghanistan, for instance, a convoy couldn't be attacked when intelligence indicated Sheik Omar was in it. So Rumsfeld...
More efficiency, please. Newly arrived in the mail (yesterday?) a check from Scotland, a VAT refund on purchases made there; the check is for the sum of £12.19. I can't tell if it's a government check or from some merchant servicer (it's payor is "Advantage Tax Free Shopping," somewhere in Edinburgh.) Here's the kicker: we were last in Scotland over a year and a half ago — August, 2002. Glad we didn't really need the money. Since the currency is a hassle, I'll probably just sign the check over to some charity like Oxfam.
UPDATE: I was emailed by another recipient of a check
from Advantage Tax Free Shopping, who reported on a successful
negotiation through email... Advantage Tax Free Shopping was
willing to take back the check and credit the amount to their
credit card, which overcomes all issues associated with the
currency. Advantage Tax Free Shopping can be emailed at info "at
sign" advatax dot com.
Abu Ghraib abuses aren't getting too much attention, if you think about it. I know that many people try to put them in perspective by comparing them to Nick Berg's execution — and even question why that isn't more of the news item — but maybe Berg's execution isn't a proper event to compare it to. Maybe we should look at the attention which Abu Ghraib has gotten, and compare it to the attention which U.S. police brutality cases get. I can't speak for what it's like in other cities, but when it happens here in New York, the Times seems to have a daily article on the case. (When the Abner Louima case happened, for instance, its horrific nature seemed beyond belief. Louima was abused on August 9, 1997; in the period from August 10 to September 9, just one month, he was mentioned in 79 different news articles in the New York Times alone. One event, in one night. He wasn't always the focus, but his abuse impacted the city in many ways.)
And when Rodney King was beaten in L.A., there was no shortage of news on the cable channels. And cases of alleged police brutality/misbehavior have received national coverage when they've happened in Cincinnati, Philadelphia, and Miami. You heard about Chicago in 1968, didn't you? Do you remember how long that was in the papers? And when civil rights marchers were set upon by police dogs and fire hoses, you heard about that, didn't you? Did those stories go away, or were they explored over days and weeks? Aren't the images etched into your mind?
To me, quantity of coverage of these events is a better comparison to Abu Ghraib, because, as Mark Kleiman has pointed out, it's US that's responsible. We can reform our own actions much sooner than Al Qaeda's, trust me. (For more on this topic, Human Rights Watch has a report on police brutality in the US, although it dates from 1998.)
UPDATE notice: since originally posted, this was
updated (same day, at 3:54 PM) to include information on the
number of New York Times news articles on Abner Louima in the
month following his abuse.
It arises from being in the loop far earlier about Abu Ghraib
abuses than was earlier claimed, as well as not getting Zarqawi
as early as possible in order to reserve arguments for war.
(Since the article is a wrap-up of other stories this week, these
points may not be new to you. But Kaplan is a good writer to
The poor analyses of media coverage of the Nick Berg story which I refer to below are really kind of shocking, and they demonstrate the risks we take with a free press. They also demonstrate that the answer to speech is more speech.
Now, there is no wizardry to this. These are basic research principles... I've seen a lot of other flawed analyses, too, but in order to support my argument quickly and then move on to my point, I'll just mention one. InstaPundit has occasionally claimed that his wife giving away electronic copies of her book for free has had no impact on sales of used physical copies. He makes this claim on the basis of the price of used copies at Amazon not plummeting. Yet he hasn't tracked whether or not any used copies have sold (which, as best I can tell, hadn't happened last time I looked). From this tiny market (not randomly selected) he generalizes to what might happen with free downloads in general. Not only is there an issue with whether or not his observation is random, but even if it were random, it's only one observation, not many. (If you will permit a statistical reference, he has "zero degrees of freedom".)
My big concern is that it's people like InstaPundit and Andrew
Sullivan who frequently complain about media bias. You need
rigorous thinking in order to support that claim. And based on
their "we're the blogosphere!" joy about Nick Berg traffic, these
are not rigorous thinkers. So please keep that in mind next time
you're hearing their complaints. Why not read about something more thorough,
and a genuine test? It's Michael Tomasky's review of the
editorial content of classic liberal and conservative news
outlets, which showed greater willingness at liberal outlets to
think out of their tradition. Meaning, of course, that bias is
greater on the right than on the left.
If you haven't been here since Friday
noon-ish, I've posted a couple updates to yesterday morning's
post on blog-traffic-based interpretations of the importance of
Nick Berg's execution. (The cool thing, by the way, about doing
my own pages by hand is that I can tell you the time and date of
my updates — all part of integrity. Many other bloggers
don't have that capability.) Anyway, here...
Did you know that the FBI was responsible for the deaths in Waco? I certainly didn't, and perhaps Mr. Krauthammer needs to lunch with Louis Freeh, FBI director at the time. For, there happens to be this commonly-held belief that the FBI was vindicated. Their actions did not cause the fire.
Not enough? CNN has the interim report available as a PDF, and you can read it for yourself.
How short is Krauthammer's memory and how short does he think yours is? I'm going to write the Washington Post's Ombudsman and complain about this. Maybe you want to, also?
While you were sleeping... The Patriot Act crept a little further. Yesterday's Washington Post reported that the ACLU was forced to revise a press release (one which was about how they had been prohibited from discussing a challenge to the Patriot Act).
I don't know about you, but I get the willies. Remember how
the Patriot Act has been used to prosecute crimes having
nothing to do with terrorism? And remember all those
detainees being held in perpetuity in Guantanamo? Remember how,
when a handful were sent home to Britain, the UK felt there was
no reason to hold them and released them practically immediately?
Blog traffic measures the importance of an issue?!? Really? Some bloggers have noticed spikes in their traffic over the execution of Nick Berg, spikes which they never saw over Abu Ghraib prison abuses. For instance, Andrew Sullivan writes:
A BLOG JOLT: In the blogosphere, we are sometimes in tune with national moods. My gut tells me that the Nick Berg video has had much more psychic impact in this country than the Abu Ghraib horrors. I even notice some small evidence for this. Every political blog site has just seen an exponential jump in traffic - far more than anything that occurred during the Abu Ghraib unfolding. My traffic went through the roof yesterday, and, according to Alexa, so did everyone else's. People who have tuned the war out suddenly tuned the war in. They get it. Will the mainstream media?
...and Instapundit makes similar remarks...
Well, I'm sorry, gang, it just doesn't work that way. Here's why:
Sorry to rain on the parade, but when conclusions are bad they have to be adressed.
UPDATE: (Posted May 14 6:50 PM) InstaPundit now provides some genuine data based on search engine searches in general, not just individual traffic, and it does show that 'Nick Berg' is leading queries at Yahoo! and Lycos. Hats off to him for getting that information. It does temper some of my argument, but not all of it. The surge in search engine queries may be a result of user frustration over not being able to find what they want at the normal outlets (i.e., traditional media web sites). That is, in the case of Abu Ghraib, finding the information may have been relatively easy. This alone discounts the value of counting search engine queries as a measure of reader interest — though that would suggest that major media web sites are not catering to the interests of the market on this issue as well as they did on others. That being said, two points remain: even if it did indicate audience interest, rather than suggesting "the people get it," it could still be construed as how little the people get; and secondly, popularity isn't a true measure of importance, no matter how many CDs Beyonce is selling now.
UPDATE: (Saturday May 15, 9:10 AM) Here are others with
parallel or similar views as mine: Mark Kleiman provides the one-syllable explanation; Tbogg's
slap; Tom Tomorrow explains the
differential coverage as being due to its ongoing, still-more-to-learn nature; Brian
Linse points out that 50 Cents is more important than
Like us all, Josh Marshall has been too
distracted by Abu Ghraib to do any follow-ups on a story he
followed closely last year. But the Washington Post reports a plea bargain in a case regarding a Chinese spy
named Katrina Leung. You hadn't heard about this? Of course not,
it's in the fringe attention that blogs can devote that stories
get covered at all. But if you click
here and type 'leung' into the box you'll get a sampling of
his superb coverage. Not sure if he'll sum it all up for you any
PLENTY of room to disagree... Over at Slate, columnist Mickey Kaus has weighed in on whether or not CBS erred as it aired the photos showing the Abu Ghraib prison abuses. (Scroll down to Goldberg vs. Kurtz.) Kaus concludes CBS was wrong (as did the military, I guess, since on Friday Rumsfeld seemed to list the presence of digital cameras as one of the problems). One glaring weakness with what Kaus has done, in drawing his conclusion, is that he's based his viewpoint on the sallies of two journalists, as if either of them puts either argument in its best expression. (How very unlike Aquinas; as I was taught it, he would rephrase his opponents arguments far better than they ever had, before decimating them. Such is the way of limiting later appeals.) For example, Kaus finds Howard Kurtz' arguments weak; one of them is this: "Stories have consequences. That's the way journalism works." The problem with using Kurtz as a basis is that, be patient with me on this, stories are already an abstraction of events. It's not stories which have consequences (this is not a pipe!), but events which have consequences. To even think for a moment of blaming "stories" frames the question incorrectly; it's the events which are the issue, not the story. Kaus's effort to frame this in terms of a story seem weak to me. The story is not the story, the events are the story. And that story — the events — are a huge issue; based on what we're reading about how long ago the US and the UK were informed about these horrendously slow reactions and poor administration, events weren't being reacted to. And if it cost Nick Berg his life, I'm sorry, but I'm not convinced there wouldn't have been some other pretext to end his life down the road. It's not like Al Qaeda did any negotiating on 9/11. For anyone to suggest that Berg's life was lost over Abu Ghraib is abysmally shortsighted and unrealistic.
Now, an extension of that belief, which I accept, is that
Berg's execution should have no impact on what we do in Iraq.
Now playing, the Trash Can Sinatras.
Specifically, their EP 'Weightlifting,' consisting of three new
studio tracks plus eleven recorded in a concert in Paris. (You
can get it here through Amazon. Or you can get it for $1.50
less through the band's
site. I don't get any commission from the band's site, so
remember me later, please?) Ab and I first heard of the Trash Can
Sinatras before 'Obscurity Knocks' was released, or even
announced: one of the cable comedy channels which merged into
Comedy Central had a show focusing on Edinburgh's Alternative
Fringe Festival, and the curly-headed host — whose name I
can't remember, but he's gone on to commercials for Toyota and an
online lending bank — taped them singing 'Obscurity Knocks'
on the steps of the Edinburgh Portrait Gallery. We were in love
with Edinburgh then (maybe still are) and the show stuck in our
heads, plus the Trash Can Sinatras. Now only the TCS remain in
our memory of that show. They've only had two albums released here in the US, and we've enjoyed
them both (as well as their third album, which a friend brought us back from the
UK). I guess the best way to characterize what's on this EP is as
interesting adult contemporary; what's here wouldn't be
considered as 'hard rock,' but it's far more interesting than
what gets called 'easy listening.' Good harmonies, nice lyrics,
and not aggravating in anyway. When we were driving through
California a month ago, on unfamiliar highways, it hit the spot,
and continues to do so now. The studio cuts make me anxious for
the ultimate studio album, they really do. And while the eleven
live cuts don't include 'Obscurity Knocks,' that's not a real
problem, it's a good folk rock set nonetheless.
The 'embattled' Defense Secretary. This phrase is coming up so often, I wonder if it's going to soon turn into another TLA? (You know, one of those three-letter abbreviations; one cannot mention "TLA" without pointing out, as someone pointed out to me, that the beauty of "TLA" is that it, itself, is a TLA.) Like WMD — a phrase used so often that people get bored with thinking of it in its full meaning, so it hides under the abbreviation. But Google currently lists 4,670 web pages with the phrase "embattled defense secretary," and a similar number with the British 'defence' spelling (though they may overlap).
Now, I happen to think that resorting to cliches is too often associated with lazy thinking... Which means you have to wonder if the journalist is capturing enough of the ideas for the article. So are there other words or phrases?
First, let's look at the definition (in which it's meant here), "beset with attackers, criticism, or controversy." Here 'beset' means everything but studded with jewels, of course. Importantly, there is no presumption of innocence in 'embattled,' which is a good start.
Synonym time now. 'Embattled' is a pretty good word, but in the interest of preserving its richness aren't there other ideas worth introduction?
This is a list I came up with, without too much effort (hint
to journalists, you should be better at this), and without
using conclusive language like "undefendable" or "slowly
twisting." Seriously, can paid writers please try harder?
"The Bush administration's doing something positive for the environment is like a dog walking on its hind legs," said Frank O'Donnell, executive director of the nonprofit Clean Air Trust, paraphrasing English author Samuel Johnson. "It may not be great, but you're surprised it's happening at all."
commenting not only on the poor quality, but on cutting women
slack as they make their initial efforts. I don't think we can
say that about the Bush administration: this is not a case where
they've been held back by society's gender expectations and a
resultant inattention to education. So be grateful, Mr.
O'Donnell, but not too grateful.
Worked closely to provide? Let's see, the White House resisted
the forming of the commission; named Henry Kissinger to head it
(riddled with conflicting interests, he wouldn't have been
anyone's candidate to be a reformer); resisted letting
Condoleezza Rice testify; bargained to have the President and
Vice President testify together "in order to see how they
work together" (uh, if that was a priority, I think the
commission would have thought of that), and without any
stenographers present; forced commission members to review
documentation without making any notes they could carry with them
— yet selectively pursued the declassification of
information which would make the White House look better... Does
any major news organization report that the White House
has a cooperative spirit? Don't comments like this really only
work to distance the White House even further from
Wondering what happened to the boom promised from tax cuts? I suspect that much of the money is being transferred among those who got the cuts in the first place, with little trickling down to the poor and needy. For instance, an article in the LA Times on the different varieties of wild salmon. At $15+ a pound, I can't see many Americans picking it up. (It's an informative article, though, if you're in a position to use the information.) Or perhaps an article in today's New York Times on an up-and-coming generation of antique/art collectors (teens and younger, some of whom are bidding on art objects that go for hundreds of thousands of dollars). One parent of a young collector insists that he tries to play down the financial aspects of antique accumulation when talking with his 6-year old son.
"Nonetheless, Mr. Keno can't help boasting of Brandon's purchase last summer of a marble board, circa 1850, for his marble collection. 'He got a really good deal," Mr. Keno said. "It was walnut or mahogany.'"
So, Dude, since my grandchildren will be paying for these tax
cuts, these few new jobs had better be here to stay, with more to
come. (And I'd appreciate it if you could prove they are related
to the tax cuts, by the way.)
Road Trip! Let's go to Iraq! So Donald Rumsfeld is now in Iraq, making a surprise visit. This is in the midst of scandal, of course, a scandal which wasn't helped when famously-accused Lynndie England said she'd been ordered to pose in those degrading photos, contradicting testimony from Major General Antonio Taguba ("found no specific instances of superiors ordering guards to mistreat inmates in the ways recorded in the pictures").
Are you sensitive to a trend here, in going to Iraq to "show support"? Recall that when Bush made his surprise visit to the troops last Thanksgiving...
The whirlwind trip came amid persistent insurgent attacks on U.S. troops in Iraq -- and less than a week after a cargo plane was struck by a missile and forced to land at the Baghdad airport.
And Colin Powell did this, too :
It also happens at lower levels: Paul Wolfowitz made an unannounced visit the month before Bush — although, no offense, but one wouldn't expect as big a bounce in the polls from a Wolfowitz visitation, due solely to rank and prominence.
During a difficult period Bush recommended a new variety of
tea leaves, that bombings were an example of how good it
was going because the bombings demonstrated the desperation of those
who were losing power. Maybe we now have a new set of tea leaves,
in the surprise trips to Iraq.
I may be wrong about the resilience of Rumsfeld regarding staying on as secretary of defense. The tea leaves are tough to read, but I had figured that a resignation would imply mistakes, and therefore wouldn't happen. But the New York Times has posted an article tonight which indicates that there is considerable indecision, that it's an active issue still. By and large the article suggests that he's resolute, and finding solace in his normal routine; yet it says he's not numb to the implications of the scandal.
People close to Mr. Rumsfeld, who was chief of staff in the Ford White House in the aftermath of Watergate, said that he knew well how to handle crises in government, but that this one had touched an especially sensitive nerve. "He's deeply affected by this, there's no question, on every level," said the photojournalist David Hume Kennerly, who has known Mr. Rumsfeld since Mr. Kennerly was President Gerald R. Ford's White House photographer. "But he's not a buck-passer, he doesn't blame people for stuff. He's handling this the way he's handled every difficult situation ever."
I wonder if it wasn't made worse for him by Berg's execution.
Apologies to anyone who came through
here earlier tonight and waited forever (literally
forever) for the picture at the top to load. I was experimenting
with another host for the images, and far too often the image
just wasn't loading. Sorry!
Wellspring of support for Rumsfeld? For now, Bush couldn't ask Rumsfeld to resign without risking his own reputation: it would be equivalent to admitting that our situation in Iraq requires strong measures not just on the ground, but also in Washington. I don't see Bush doing that, which is why I wasn't surprised by his strong endorsement of Rumsfeld on Monday. (And it's not the first time he's come out with support for an embattled advisor; to wit, his support for Condi Rice in spite of her allowing the famous sixteen words to creep into the 2003 State of the Union address: "Bush aides have made clear that Rice's stature is undiminished in the president's eyes." And who could forget the strong support Bush has shown for Tenet over the years?) Face it, Bush will not admit to mistakes, no way no how.
The ripple effects of Bush's Rumsfeld endorsement are being seen in the Senate, according to The Hill. Republican Senators are following the party line, and it's understandable: why make your leader's inability to admit mistakes any more obvious than it is? Still, it would be nice to hear something more contemplative than this quote from Senator Jeff Sessions:
"The president's strong support for Rumsfeld is the final word on the subject," Sessions added. "I don't think anybody in the middle of a war is going to tell the president this magnificent secretary of defense should be resigning."
"This magnificent secretary of defense." Hmmm. Readers, please
check your heads at the door. Thank you.
UFOs again, but this time a country's
military claims it. Back on March 5, Mexican Air Force pilots
saw — and filmed — air vehicles it couldn't identify. Campeche, where it occurred,
borders Guatemala. A Canadian "space observer" says the report is
nothing special, however.
The horrible execution of Nick Berg, played out on an Islamic militant web site is a despicable act of brutality. So far as I've read, everything which some of our MPs are accused of having done in Abu Ghraib prison pales in comparison... and these terrorists have to be brought to justice. It's just sickening.
But let's not allow ourselves to become complacent because our alleged abuses aren't as brutal as what these militants did. That would be like an alcoholic ignoring his disease because he has a brother whose behaviors are far worse. If there's an opportunity for correction, taking a relative viewpoint doesn't help.
Of course I'm also really angry about the idea that our
scandal will be used as a lever for recruitment. Kudos to the
liberals who imagined all this coming to pass; I just wish you
were wrong, and I wish your patriotism had never been maligned.
Being out of the loop is a real pain.
Seriously. Like, imagine you work for a division of the US
National Security Administration, and you want to read a copy of
the Taguba report on the Abu Ghraib prison abuses? You can't just
go and ask for a copy, because someone at the Department of
Defense sent you an email telling you you're not allowed to read it. So,
you go to John McCrory's web site, of
course. Problem: you forgot to use your high security
fancy IP address scrambler, and now everyone knows that the NSA
is going to his web site to get a document you should be
able to get internally.
Respecting the fallen. The Palm Beach
Post, today, has a suite of photos taken from the Monday funeral
of Navy reservist Robert Jenkins. (I don't know how long the link
will work — its URL looks like it's not stable — so
through their web site I emailed myself a link which might be
more stable. But I don't guarantee (link became obsolete and
has been removed), so try and click it today.) These photos
(there are two) show nothing but complete respect on the faces of
everyone there, and I hope that the Bush administration will
reconsider its policies regarding photographs of our fallen
soldiers. They sacrificed a lot, and to hide them in death seems
like dishonor to me.
"Failure of leadership, lack of
discipline, no training whatsoever and no supervision."
That's the take of Maj. Gen. Antonio M. Taguba, who wrote the
internal report on abuses at Abu Ghraib. Is Rumsfeld dead meat
"Sort of like what you would imagine plaster would taste like. Salted plaster ... with a vitamin-like aftertaste." Ah, low-carb substitute foods are being reacted to over at Salon. (Watch their ad first.) Many low-carbers forget the oneness of high-carb food: mashed potatoes taste like mashed potatoes because they are mashed potatoes. Pureed cauliflower, with cheeses and herbs and butter and so on, will never taste like mashed potatoes — although it will taste like great pureed cauliflower. And as for the commercial products discussed in the review, we're talking about further fakery which never strikes me as even worth pursuing.
I can agree with enjoying pureed cauliflower for what it is, that's fine. And there are plenty of replacements you can have which will bring your carb count down, like barley or chana dal instead of rice. And I can see why people who are in their first low carb steps get the shakes while they do without pasta. But c'mon, do your exercise, work through the initial stages, and maybe then you can have just a little pasta to cure your craving. A small side dish worth, for instance: a "serving" of pasta has about 40 grams of "net carbs" (carbohydrate grams minus fiber grams), but since that's for 2 ounces (about 57 grams) is there any reason you couldn't have a side of about a third of that? Just as a side?
I can't be the only person who knows that the best low carb
foods aren't forced into being low carb, they just are.
Lindt has a dark chocolate bar that's labeled as being 85% cocoa;
it works out to being low carb because of its low sugar quantity,
and will cure your chocolate craving. And it costs less and
tastes better than the Atkins treats. And then there are these
wonderful Venco licorices I have — they aren't to most
Americans' tastes, but I like the dropbriljantjes variety, and
they are pretty low carb too, by merit of their low sweetness.
I've posted repeatedly (here, for instance) that the issues in Abu Ghraib prison abuses probably have something to do with social psychology. Last night Aaron Brown had someone on his show who had conducted a psychology experiment back in the 1970s which could have served as a blueprint for what we're learning now. (Look for ZIMBARDO in the transcript.)
Zimbardo describes not only the way in which abuses in his laboratory escalated, but also the processes which led to dehumanization:
If you can, read the whole exchange, because a number of
potentially-relevant issues such as social modeling, group
leadership, the initial, basic goodness of his subjects are all
discussed. These phenomena may be relevant to an individual's
defense — the command was negligent in creating situations
like this — but also in terms of straightening the
situation out so it doesn't happen again. I'm not comfortable
with finding innocence in the MPs yet, but we are supposed to
presume innocence until proven guilty.
So we now have our own war criminals, in the view of one of
the world's most respected international organizations. Rumsfeld
should have resigned today; even if he thinks he's effective,
someone else would be more effective. Perhaps the problems is who
he thinks might replace him: I wouldn't say every
potential replacement would be more effective, and if Bush were
to be reliant on the advice of people like Dick Cheney and
Condoleezza Rice, look out.
I can't help but imagine that these abuses occurred because the participants lost touch with their mores; isolated from the broader population, I imagine that group reinforcement developed where extreme behaviors were demonstrated in order to win approval... Kind of like the dialog you see in odd corners of the Internet (like freerepublic.com, for instance) where people put on masks before participating in dialogs and egg each other on with the norm for "acceptable behavior" getting so warped that it's no longer recognizable by the broader population.
There is some confirmation of this. An MP says photos were widely shared:
The enthusiasm in sharing photos surely led to reinforcement
of the extremes; and as we all know, behavior which is reinforced
tends to be repeated. The standards had to shift under
these circumstances; competition for attention must have
developed — these behaviors are natural (allbeit in an
unnatural, unacceptable form of expression).
I'm not the first parent to marvel at
the technical facility of their offspring. And my marveling isn't
new, either: years ago, the Kid Unit made a wonderful image in
Adobe Illustrator that was brimming with exploration and joy. But
when I re-charged my cell phone tonight (they're new in our
family; why will have to wait for another post), and the
phone still seemed dead, why did it take a ten year old to
explain it to the 47 year old who pays the bills? Doesn't
something here scream out, "bad marketing"?
Tough to recall a better purchase... In the CD player right now is Gov't Mule's The Deepest End, a set of 2 CDs (for two and a half hours total) plus DVD (about 3 hours) taken from a 2003 concert in New Orleans where the core group was supported by a series of guest musicians; the variety of musicians led to a varied set list, one which included not only many of their own songs but tunes like Herbie Hancock's "Chameleon," some Black Sabbath, some Prince, some Van Morrison, and so on. I only started to feel curious about this group after seeing the Allman Brothers' DVD Live at the Beacon; the leader of Gov't Mule also plays lead guitar for the Allman Brothers, and his virtuosity was readily apparent.
But the Gov't Mule set is wonderful, and there is a very
human, funny moment towards the end of the six hour endeavor,
when leader Warren Haynes has to play a completely unplanned
guitar solo while someone downloads some lyrics for him off the
Internet. It's all well-recorded and well-shot. Guest performers
include the Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Bela Fleck, Jack Casady, Rob
Wasserman, David Hidalgo, Bernie Worrell... I think you should buy it.
Are we a nation of suckers? I was
going to comment mostly on an MSNBC article dealing with America's failure to
react to higher gasoline prices (drive less, trade in
gas-guzzling SUVs, and so on), and wondered if my planned
headline here was too harsh. But then I remembered how many
Americans thought Saddam Hussein was behind 9/11; how John Kerry
fails to chip away at Bush support in spite of the horrendous
month we've seen in Iraq; how many Americans voted for
Bush in 2000; how many, post Florida, talked about how
Gore would say anything in order to get elected... Maybe
I'm not sure if anything here will add to what you're reading already about Abu Ghraib, so rather than talk at length about any specific development and think it will add to your understanding, I'll just point to a variety of links, highlighting their content. OK with you?